Tripoli/Manama/New Delhi: Anti-government protests intensified Monday in Libya as Muammar
Gaddafi's son warned of "rivers of blood" and two Libyan
diplomats, including its envoy to India, quit to protest the
crackdown while elsewhere in the Arab world the demonstrations
continued to swell.
In Tripoli, Gaddafi's son warned that the country faced a bloody
civil war if anti-government protesters refused to accept offers
Amid reports of growing opposition to Gaddafi's rule, Saif
al-Islam Gaddafi, 38, said in a televised speech that his father
remained in charge with the army's backing and would "fight until
the last man, the last woman, the last bullet". Saif Gaddafi holds
a key post in the government.
Protests were reported to have spread Monday from regional towns
and cities to the capital, Tripoli and gunfire could be heard
ringing out as Saif Gaddafi's lengthy speech was aired, AKI
Anti-government strikes were Monday reported to be taking place in
Libya and government buildings were reported to be on fire.
The protests in Libya have been inspired by the successful
uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. Tunisia saw a month-long mass
unrest which toppled the 23-year rule of president Zine al-Abidine
Ben Ali Jan 14. Barely a few days later Jan 25, protests erupted
in Egypt with tens of thousands of demonstrators seeking president
Hosni Mubarak's ouster. Mubarak quit Feb 11. The unrest has also
hit Bahrain, Iran, Yemen, Algeria and Jordan.
At least 233 people have been killed in Libya since protests broke
out Feb 15 against the autocratic Gaddafi's rule, according to
US-based group Human Rights Watch.
HRW urged governments to tell Libya to stop the killing of
protesters amid accounts of authorities, reportedly backed by
mercenaries, using live ammunition against them.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said the death toll was lower than 233 and
condemned the unprecedented uprising against his father's 41-year
rule as a foreign plot. But he admitted that mistakes were made in
the violent crackdown against protesters and urged citizens to
build a "new Libya".
"Libya is at a crossroads. If we do not agree today on reforms, we
will not be mourning 84 people, but thousands of deaths and rivers
of blood will run through Libya," he said, cited by Arabic TV
A US official said early Monday that the US was weighing "all
appropriate actions" in response to Libya's violent crackdown on
protesters who claim tear gas as well as live ammunition was being
used against them.
As the protests continued in Libya, Libya's ambassador to India
Ali al-Essawi resigned to protest his government's crackdown on
demonstrators, the BBC reported.
The BBC, on its Arabic service website, said the Libyan envoy also
accused his government of deploying foreign mercenaries against
A senior Libyan diplomat in China also quit Monday and called on
his country's army to intervene in the political unrest, Al-Jazeera
The diplomat, Hussein Sadiq al Musrati, resigned on air while
talking to Al-Jazeera Arabic.
Musrati called on the Libyan army to intervene, and called all
diplomatic staff to resign, Al-Jazeera said in a posting on its
In Bahrain, demonstrators continued to camp at a roundabout in
Al-Jazeera reported that hundreds of protesters were congregated
at the Pearl roundabout, which has been the focal point of the
unrest that continued for the ninth day.
The 90-metre monument has gradually turned into a tent city.
"I'm feeling happy. But all the people of Bahrain, they don't want
the government of Bahrain," Hossain Kasar, who has been camping
there for the past two nights, was quoted by the TV channel as
Bahrain, the smallest state in the Gulf region, is home to the US
Navy's 5th Fleet.
In Yemen, a teenager was killed and four people were wounded
Monday when security forces attacked pro-democracy protesters in
southern port city of Aden.
The soldiers opened fire at the youths who were throwing stones at
their military patrol in the city's Khormaksar district, witnesses
were quoted as saying by Al Jazeera.
The death brings to 12 the number of people killed in unrest in
Yemen since Thursday.
Yemenis, inspired by the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, are
demanding that President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down after 32
years of rule.
Shots were also fired at a demonstration in the capital Sanaa, as
the anti-government protests continued for 11th consecutive day.
Thousands of people also staged sit-ins in the cities of Ibb and
Taiz Sunday, the channel said.
A Saleh supporter fired shots from an assault rifle but there were
no reported casualties and the government supporters soon
dispersed, while the protesters continued their demonstration
chanting, "Leave, Ali!"
In the southern city of Ibb, around 1,000 protesters set up camp
in Freedom Square waving banners which read "Leave" and "The
people want the fall of the regime", witnesses said.
Saleh, in power since 1978, said Monday that only defeat at the
ballot box will make him quit.